ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham

We have made an impact for women and other people of marginalized genders in central North Carolina since 2016. Our work focuses on providing free opportunities for high school girls to show them that engineering can be fun and exciting.

The ChickTech mission is to retain women in the technology workforce and increase the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers. Learn more about ChickTech and our mission here and more about our inclusion policies here.

Donate to ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham

Our Programs

ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham runs events for women, girls, non-binary people of all ages, and allies. Our programs range from ChickTech: High School, a free series of workshops and mentorship opportunities for students grade 8 – 12, to ACT-W (Advancing the Careers of Technical Women) Conferences and an online membership community. Whenever possible, we partner with other local organizations and companies to increase our impact and support the tech industry.

For Students

ChickTech: High School is our signature program, which helps hundreds of girls in central North Carolina discover an interest in STEM skills and industries. ChickTech “cohorts” — most of whom have no previous experience in technology or have never really considered taking the technology path — are nominated by their teachers and invited to participate in a kickoff event and monthly workshops and mentorship opportunities.

Two high school girls stand holding colorful robots next to a ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham banner

ChickTech: High School students attend the Raleigh-Durham kickoff in 2019. The girls built their own colorful robots!

All our workshops are hands-on and project-based so that participants come out of each with a sense of accomplishment and a burst of confidence. They remain engaged and learning through follow-up workshops throughout the year. Offerings have included:

  • Robotics
  • Website development/design
  • 3D printing
  • College and alternative education support
  • Videography and audio editing skills
  • Soft circuits and wearable tech

Our program provides a fun, positive learning experience designed to build participants’ confidence in their technical abilities, give them positive role models, create connections with other young women from the Raleigh-Durham area, and create a positive association with technology creation.

Learn more Register or Nominate a Student

For Adults
11 ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham volunteers in gray ChickTech shirts pose standing on a balcony in front of red flowers.

The ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham volunteer team poses for a photo at Meredith College in 2019.

Advancing the Careers of Technical Women (ACT-W) provides programming for people of all genders, ages and types of careers. With a focus on the needs of women and non-binary people, ACT-W events help support technologists currently working in the industry, give students confidence if they are thinking about going into tech, and help us all tap into a unique network of intelligent, amazing people who believe in the ChickTech mission. The events range from ACT-W+, our online membership platform, to conferences, hands-on workshops, and networking events.

Since 2017, ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham has held over 20 events for adults in technology, including casual meet-up and networking opportunities, trivia nights, fundraising events, community discussions, and workshops. Past events have included:

  • Learn to Code with HTML/CSS, and Javascript
  • STEM Education and Diversity
  • Resume Skills and Technical Interview Prep
  • Tech Entrepreneurship
  • Public Speaker Skills
  • Bias in Data Science
  • All Things Open Source

Our adult events are open to people of all genders, backgrounds, and skillsets. We encourage people who are new to tech (or are thinking about learning new tech skills or entering a tech career) to join us, too!

Learn more View upcoming events

Get involved with ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham

         

The ChickTech Raleigh-Durham organization is 100% volunteer-run. We need your help to make our high school programming possible. We welcome volunteers of all skill levels (including no experience) and all genders. Our current volunteer needs include activities/workshop planning support, marketing volunteers, fundraising support, and participant engagement volunteers. Interested? Let us know in the comments when you fill out our interest form!

Volunteer

Help empower women, girls, and non-binary people of all ages in tech! Learn more about what volunteer needs we currently have and sign up to meet with a member of the ChickTech team to talk about your volunteer goals.

Sign up to volunteer

Donate

Help fund our work! As a nonprofit, we’re always looking for donations to keep our events and programs low-cost or free. If you’d like to support our mission in Raleigh-Durham, please donate.

Donate today

Sponsor/Partner

Whether it’s as simple as spreading the word or as big as making a financial donation, your company can give back to your community and accomplish your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Learn more

Become a Member

Join our growing community of technologists on ACT-W+, our online membership platform for adults of all genders. A membership gives you access to our Career Portal, free webinars and, and SO much more.

Register now

ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham Accomplishments

A photo of a high school girl wearing a ChickTech shirt and sitting in front of a ChickTech: Raleigh Durham banner adjusting a small robot, with a laptop in front of her.

A Raleigh-Durham high school student participates in a robotics workshop at the 2019 ChickTech High School program kickoff. Photo by Michael Hrivnak

Our post-program survey from 2018 showed that ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham participants report significant gains in their technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and sense of support. 90% of youth who reported low confidence in technical skills prior to ChickTech report an increased confidence in their technical skills. 85% of our participants are likely to recommend ChickTech: High School programming to their friends.

“This year, my senior year, I have applied to engineering schools for college. Without having the experience of ChickTech, I wouldn’t have even thought to be interested in technology. Now I want to go to school for it.” – ChickTech: High School Participant

Thank you to ChickTech: Raleigh-Durham Partners:

Fidelty Investments logo
Sparkfun Electronics logo
WELL Logo
Wake Tech logo
Dude Solutions logo
Campbell University logo

Our Leadership Team

Kelly Curtin (she/her)

Raleigh-Durham Co-Director, ChickTech

My dad wanted me to be a plastics engineer but I refused. I wanted to be a marine biologist because I love the ocean. I discovered biology involved chemistry, which I was really bad at. I changed my major to political science because that was what my sister was studying. Once I realized that political science majors make 16K out of school (it was the 1980’s), I changed my major to MIS. I took my first computer class soon after and was failing. Then one day, a light when on and I got it. I decided to minor in computer science and never look back.

Almost 30 years later, I am still writing software and I still love it. I currently am a director of data analysis at Fidelity Investments. I still love the ocean and am an avid scuba diver. My motto is try everything because you never know what you love until you try it.

Rima Chakravarty (she/her)

Raleigh-Durham Co-Director, ChickTech

I believe in empowerment and gender equality for women. Diversity enhances creativity and provokes unique perspectives leading to better decisions, breakthrough innovations and constructive problem solving leading to betterment of societies. Given opportunities and guidance, women can make significant contributions to the tech industry and help in reducing the gender gap.

For the past several years, I have worked in various roles in data and analytics in government, financial, and technology sectors. I have double Masters in Economics, with concentrations in International Trade, Mathematics, and Statistics.

Roshni Pattath (she/her)

Activities and Workshop Lead, ChickTech

I have been working in the software development/testing field since the last ~10 years. Art/craft and yoga are some other activities that I love to spend time on. I like to be engaged in volunteering activities especially if it is related to helping kids in some way.

Joel Tatarka (he/him)

Activities and Workshop Lead, ChickTech

Aneesha Vallabhaneni (she/her)

Transportation Coordinator, ChickTech

Inequality is not an unchangeable reality. I’m a firm believer in the positive impact that education can have on the lives of the next generation. I am passionate about impactful volunteering and sustainability.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering from UNC Charlotte. My work experience ranges from software development to social responsibility. In my free time, I’m busy exploring music and gardening.

Menaka Arumainathan (she/her)

Participant Engagement Lead, ChickTech

Information Technology trends in the late 1990s and early 2000s inspired me to opt for a Computer Science and Engineering major even though I had dreamt of being a doctor ever since I was 5 years old. Was I great at math and science to start with? Maybe not. However, I am very thankful to my parents and all the teachers who continued to believe in me and helped me to become what I am today. I started my high tech job as a Software Developer and continued to grow into the Project Management role. And to this day, this career continues to unleash the best potential in me.

My 8 year old keeps me busy and loves the outdoors just like his dad. Long drives with some great music to places we have never visited is kind of what we love to do as a family these days. Thus far, rides to outer banks, Ocracoke and Disneyland in Florida have been the most memorable.

I believe every woman has the confidence and power to shine in any field that she sets her heart and soul on. As Sallie Krawcheck in her book “Own It” mentions, women don’t need to be empowered as they already have the qualities and skills to get ahead in the modern workplace and that in owning those qualities, we have more potential and power than we realize to scale in the tech industry.

Let us continue to grow and inspire others to grow too.

Portland 2014 High School Kickoff. Photo by Wojtek Rajski.